Page images

settled educational policy of the country to be commanded. The Government should, however, undertake, for a time, the education of the freedmen. The second plan could only be justified on the ground of public necessity in a great national crisis. The belief was expressed that the third plan would prove efficient, and the manner in which conditional grants or appropriations would secure and foster school systems in the different States, was pointed out.

The influence which a National Bureau of Education would excrt upon the schools of the country, was shown by a full analysis of the duties of such a department. It was urged that it should have no official control of the school authorities of the several States. Its function should be to quicken and inform rather than to direct and control.

The subject was further discussed by ex-Gov. Boutwell, of Massachusetts, and Hon, Mr. Patterson, of New Hampshire, members of the House of Representatives, and others, who took strong ground in favor of the proposed Bureau.

On motion of Mr. Adams, of Vermont, White was requested to embody the substance of his paper in a memorial to Congress, and to send copies of the same to each State Superintendent for circulation for signatures. A committee of three, consisting of Messrs. White, of Ohio, Bateman, of Illinois, and Adams, of Vermont, was appointed to memorialize Congress immediately.

On Thursday, a paper was read by Hon. Mr. Harrison, State Superintendent of Schools of New Jersey, upon the “Defects of our State Systems of Schools," and also another by Hon. Newton Bateman, of Illinois, on the “Leading Features of a Model State School System.” Mr. Bateman's paper was lengthy and exhaustive. He specially urged the necessity of religious instruction and the study of the principles of civil government.

Mr. Fisk, Superintendent of the Freedmen's Schools of North Carolina ; Mr. Payne, Superintendent of the Freedmen's School in East Virginia, and Mr. Chase, of Richmond, gave interesting and encouraging accounts of the progress of education in their several fields of labor.

A resolution was adopted, calling the attention of Gen. Howard, Commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau, to the importance of establishing training schools for colored teachers.

On motion of Col. De Wolf, of Ohio, all friends of education in the South were invited to attend the meetings of the National Educational Associations of the ensuing season.

Mr. Cowdery, of Ohio, chairman of the committee on resolutions, reported a series of excellent resolutions, which were unanimously adopted.

On motion of Mr. Doty, of Michigan, a committee, consisting of Messrs. Doty, DeWolf, and Sears, of New Jersey, was appointed to report at the next meeting a plan for organizing and superintending city public schools.

The following officers were elected for the ensuing year: President, Birdsey Grant Northrop, of Massachusetts; Vice President, Charles B. Coburn, of Pennsylvania ; Corresponding Secretary, G. W. Hoss, of Indiana ; Recording Secretary, L. Van Bokkelen, of Maryland ; Treasurer, Duane Doty, of Michigan.

It was voted that the next meeting of the Association be held at Indianapolis, Ind., commencing on the Monday preceding the meeting of the National Teachers' Association.

The meeting at Washington was a decided success, and will, it is believed, result in great good to the cause of education. The discussions were practical, earnest, and free from buncombe.—Olio Educational Monthly.

A Teacher's Troubles.

There is living on Martha's Vineyard an old man who has never been off the island, and the extent of his knowledge is bounded by the confines of his home. He has been told of a war between the North and South, but as he had never heard the din of battle nor seen any soldiers, he considered it a hoax. He is utterly unable to read, and is ignorant to the last degree. An excellent story is told of his first and only day at school. He was quite a lad when a lady came to the district where his father resided to teach school. He was sent, and as the teacher was classifying the school, he was called


in turn and interrogated as to his former studies. Of couse he had to say that he had never been to school, and knew none of his letters. The schoolmistress gave him a seat on one side until she had finished the preliminary examination of the rest of the scholars. She then called him to her and drew on the blackboard the letter A, told him what it was, and asked him to remember how it looked. He looked at it a moment, and then inquired, (he stuttered :)

2. “H-h-how do you know it's A ?”

3. The teacher replied that when she was a little girl she had been to school to an old gentleman who told her so.

4. The boy eyed the A for a moment, and then asked, “H-h-how did he know?"

5. This was almost a stunner, but the teacher suddenly recollected that he had told her that when a boy he had been to school to a lady who taught him that it was A.

6. The boy eyed the letter a little longer, when he burst out with, “H-h-how did he know but she l-l-lied ?"

7. The teacher could not get over this obstacle, and the poor boy was sent home as incorrigible.

[ocr errors]


Errors of Tongue and Pen---Dean Alford's Criticisms.

Some of Dr. Alford's gleanings from the English press curiously illustrate the tendency of newspaper writers to use bad English :

" The newspaper writer never allows us to go anywhere, we always procecd. A man going home, is set down as an individual proceeding to his residence.'

6. We never eat, but always partake, even though we happen to eat . up the whole of the thing mentioned. In court, counsel asks a witness, Did you have anything so eat there?" "Yes.' What

• - A bun.' Now go to the report in the paper,


you will be sure to find that witress confessed to having partaken of a bun,' as if some one else shared it with him.

“We never hear of a place; it is always a locality. Nothing is ever placed, but always located. Most of the people of the place'

• would be a terrible vulgarism to these gentlemen; it must be the majority of the residents in the locality.'

“ Then no one lives in rooms, but always in apartments.' Good Lodgings' would be far too meagre ; so we have 'eligible apartments.'

bd Another horrible word, which is fast getting into our language

was it?

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


through the provincial press, is to 'eventuate.' If they want to say that a man spent his money till he was ruined, they tell us that his unprecedented extravagance eventuated in the total dispersion of his property.

Avocation" is another monster patronized by these writers. Now avocation, which of itself is an innocent word enough, means the being called away from something. We might say, 'He could not do it, having avocations elsewere.” But in our newspapers, avocation mean's a man's calling in life. If a shoemaker at his work is struck by lightning, we read that ' while pursuing his avocation the electric fluid penetrated the unhappy man's person.'

"If I have to complain to the postoffice," says Dr. Alford, "that a letter legibly directed to me at Canterbury has been missent to Caermarthen, I get a regular red-tape reply, beginning: “ The letter alluded to by you." Now I did not allude to the letter at all; I mentioned it as plainly as I could."

" There is an expression creeping into general use which cannot be justified in grammar, 'a superior man;' ' a very inferior person." We all know what is meant; and a certain sort of defence


be set up for it by calling it elliptical: by saying that the comparatives are to be filled up by inserting to most men,' or the like. But with all its convenience, and all the defence which can be set up for it, this way of speaking is not desirable; and if followed out as a precedent, cannot but vulgarize and deteriorate our language.

“ We seem rather unfortunate in our designations for our men of ability. For another term by which we describe them, 'talented,' is about as bad as possible. What is it? It looks like a participle. From what verb? Fancy such a verb as 'to talent! Coleridge

' sometimes cries out against this newspaper word, and says, Imagine other participles formed by this analogy, and men being said to be pennied, shillinged, or pounded. He perhaps forgot that, by an equal abuse, men are said to be "moneyed' men, or as we sometimes see it spelt (as if the word itself were not bad enough without making it worse by false orthography), 'monied.'

“Another formation of this kind, gifted,' is at present very much in vogue. Every man whose parts are to be praised, is a gifted author, or speaker, or preacher. Nay, sometimes a very odd trans-fer is made, and the pen with which the author writes is said to be gifted,' instead of himself."

[ocr errors]

:A YALE alumnus of twenty years standing returned, after a long absence to visit his alma mater, and was very courteously received and shown around by Professor T- After having exhibited to his guest most of the modern improvements, the Professor said to him:

“ You have now seen, I believe, all that is new in the institution except the gymnasium. Come, let us go up there, and I will roll a string of ten-pins with you."

“ What, sir ?" exclaimed the guest, starting back in real astonishment.

Why," exclaimed the Professor, “we have a fine alley in our gymnasium, and I would like to go there and roll a string of tenpins with you."

" Roll ten-pins with you, sir!” exclaimed the alumnus, with a gloom of malicious fun in his eye: “Why, sir, I was expelled from

, the college for rolling ten-pins !"


School Laws.

There are certain modifications of our school system that can not much longer be postponed. Among school officers and others who have watched its practical working, there are very few who do not urge the adoption of a plan which shall secure to the towns the advantages of gradation, division of labor, and harmony of action in the management of their public schools.

Under the present system each district must provide instruction for children studying all the branches included in a common school education. In schools of sixty scholars there may often be found from five to ten studying the primer and learning the simplest combinations of numbers ; and as many more studying history, algebra and physiology. Thirty or forty are learning to read, write and cipher, and their various stages of progress require from six to ten different classes. There will be found in such a school, from fifteen to twenty classes in all. This, if we deduct an hour for rest and general exercises, gives fifteen to twenty minutes of the teacher's time for each class during the day. Most of the pupils need aid in preparing their lessons, and their progress depends upon the

« PreviousContinue »